Chance Encounters is an annual exhibition staged by the LOEWE FOUNDATION at the LOEWE Miami store in the city’s Design District. Unique as a commercial space, it is dominated by a 200 year-old granary building which was transported, stone by stone, from Portugal to Miami. At over 10 meters long and five meters high, the wood and stone pitched-roof structure sat for centuries in the river lands of the Miño, a humble edifice designed for rural industry. It now assumes the grandeur of a temple, its weather-worn surfaces redolent of another place and time.
Contradiction and displacement are key to Jonathan Anderson’s creative approach at LOEWE. His collections challenge notions of beauty, upset gender conventions and push materials and silhouettes to their limits. To be contemporary is to acknowledge the past; dissonance can create moments of strange harmony. This potential has been embedded in the architectural fabric of the LOEWE store itself through the presence of the granary, and has provided something of a guiding principle for the Chance Encounters series of exhibitions that creates unexpected dialogues between historical and contemporary artists and makers. Previous exhibitions have included work by Anthea Hamilton, Lucie Rie, Paul Nash, John Ward, Rose Wylie, William McKeown, Lionel Wendt and Sara Flynn – conversations that have taken place between art forms and across time.
Chance Encounters IV brings together works by Andrea Büttner (b. 1972, Germany), Ian Godfrey (1942-1992, UK) and Anne Low (b.1981, Canada). From different generations and working in various media —from ceramics and textiles to woodcut printing— these artists are united by a fascination for historical traditions of making, exploring the potential for the outmoded to, somewhat counterintuitively, give fresh insights onto contemporary concerns. In their work, history becomes a prism through which the present moment fans out into a spectrum of social, economic and material realities.
Low’s newly-commissioned installation Dust Bed occupies the granary, drawing on the intimate textures of this object and to create an exuberant performance of textile forms.
Woodcuts by Büttner monumentalise simple every objects and fragments of art historical works. Hand-carved and printed, her images speak urgently about notions of shame and humility through works that are wilfully slow and temporally-layered.
A major collection of over 100 works by British ceramicist Ian Godfrey occupies museum-like cases throughout the space. His minutely-detailed ceramic sculptures are individual worlds that draw on the art of ancient civilisations. Populated by exotic animals and fantastical architecture, they draw the viewer into their childlike landscapes and transport us momentarily to another time and place.
Chance Encounters IV. From 4th December 2018 to 31st January 2019. LOEWE Miami Design District, 110 NE 39th Street, Suite #102. Miami, Florida (USA).
Photo Captions: Anne Low ©Dennis Ha; ‘Diver’ ©Andy Keate, courtesy of Andrea Büttner and Hollybush Gardens; ‘Ritualistic Sculptures and Vessels’ ©Lewis Ronald.